Everyone loves an underdog. Everyone loves the story of a winner who had to overcome seemingly impossible odds. The 1980 USA Men’s Hockey Team earned Olympic gold after defeating a Soviet team that had been unbeatable for years. Buster Douglas was a 42-1 underdog when he knocked out the undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson. And, of course, many of us were glued to the big screen as we watched the underdog Rocky Balboa come back to defeat Apollo Creed. We all love winning, but we all love winning more when the odds are stacked against us. There are three keys when it comes to overcoming all odds: belief, courage, and resilience.
When I first started running marathons, I was an underdog. I wasn’t a runner. In fact, I hated running, and the prospect of running 26.2 miles terrified me… until my mentor said, “I believe in you.” Those words transformed the impossible to the possible. They drove me to positive action: eating right, researching the sport, working with him to create a plan, and diligently following the plan. They programmed me to believe that success was a foregone conclusion, and I started acting that way. Believing in yourself programs your mind and body for unlimited success. It sends a powerful, positive message to your subconscious mind that drives action. It enables you to overcome seemingly impossible odds. The words “I believe in you” can change a destiny.
You can’t win it if you’re not in it. There’s a Bible story about an epic battle between David and Goliath several thousand years ago. David wasn’t even invited to the battle. However, he had the courage to show up, and when nobody stepped up to take on the mighty Goliath, David rose to the occasion. David was the underdog, the kid, the shepherd, the guy with no armor, and his only weapon was a slingshot. Goliath was a killing machine - a one-man wrecking crew with armor, the best weaponry, and a history of destroying everything in his path. Everyone knew who was going to win this battle. However, when the battle started, David grabbed a rock, pulled back his slingshot, and fired, lodging the rock deep in the skull of the giant warrior, sending him to an early grave.
Resilience is a learned skill, demonstrated by the most successful people in life, in which one is able to accurately assess their current situation and face the cold, hard facts. Based on those facts, they create a plan of action, and they create a sense of purpose. Ultimately, they relentlessly attack barriers - going over, under, around, or through anything that stands in the way. In a nutshell, resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity and forge a path to success. It’s a process by which one never gives up, and when life hands them lemons, as it often does, they figure out how to make lemonade. Dean Becker says, “More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.”
My Challenge to You
Consider the Goliaths in your life. Maybe your Goliath is an addiction. Maybe it’s pornography, alcohol, or tobacco. Maybe it’s a difficult boss, a failing relationship, or a challenging teenager. Whatever it may be, think of this as an epic battle in which you’re the underdog.
- Believe: start programming your mind and body for success. Start believing in yourself. Let that belief drive transformative positive action. You were born of the seeds of greatness; you were carefully architected with perfection and designed for accomplishment. You have what it takes!
- Be Courageous: nobody every won by sitting on the sidelines. The word fear has prevented more people from reaching their potential than any other word in the English language - fear of success, fear of failure. Think of fear as an acronym - false expectations appearing real. As you evaluate the Goliaths in your life, ask yourself if fear is limiting you. Then, without missing a beat, just go for it - jump in and win.
- Be Resilient: objectively assess your current situation by looking at the cold, hard facts. Create a plan of action based on those facts, and create an overarching sense of purpose that will motivate and guide you along the way. Then seek out any barriers to success, and utterly destroy them. Go over them, go around them, or go through them. Whatever it takes. Expect to be handed lemons along the way, and figure out how to turn them into lemonade.
In the words of the great Dr. Fred Hatfield, “If you believe these things, then for you winning is neither everything nor the only thing. It's a foregone conclusion! But, if along the way, you should somehow stumble, profit from the experience! And vow, by the power of Almighty God, it'll NEVER happen again!"